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The seven-second resume

An Ad Council campaign designed to persuade employers to hire young people who lack a higher education or traditional work experience has won the Grand Prix of the Effective Innovation category of the 2018 WARC Awards.

The campaign is called “7-Second Resumes.” Created for an organization called Grads of Life, it is just as the label suggests – powerful seven-second videos in which a young person tells an employer why their skills and potential are worth considering, even though they might not stand out on a traditional hiring application.

The hook is that the average hiring manager spends only seven seconds looking at a resume, and thus their implicit bias against candidates like this means a lot of good people never have a chance.

These ran as donated media (PSAs) at first. From there the Ad Council partnered with LinkedIn to post the videos on these youths’ LinkedIn profiles, and then filmed hundreds of 7-second resumes at career fairs across the US. 

Both in terms of hard and soft metrics, the campaign exceeded expectations and outperformed the previous year’s campaign, which featured more traditional ads. Visits to the website jumped 68 percent and Grads of Life was contacted by an average of 45 businesses a month – up from an average of two.

The campaign also garnered earned media in Fast Company and Forbes.

What can an approach like this do to change minds in other ways?  How could a short, emotionally gripping message change minds about racism? Sexism? Medical conditions? Physician-patient interactions? Perceptions of a brand?